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Newsletter: July 2021

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Funded project-based professional learning opportunity

Explore Science Earth and Space logo showing icons for a planet, a spacecraft, and the Earth


The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Network) is pleased to offer a funded opportunity to participate in a project-based professional learning community focused on making Earth & Space science relevant and inclusive for your community. In collaboration with NASA, the NISE Network is making this new professional development opportunity available to 100 eligible NISE Network partner organizations within the United States to support their efforts in making Earth & Space science relevant and inclusive and to promote a more equitable STEM future for their communities. This funded opportunity is open to museum professionals who are currently employed by an eligible organization. Eligible organizations are existing NISE Network partners who have previously received at least one Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit (2017-2020). Applications are due August 1st. Learn more:


Online Workshop: Engaging audiences in the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope - Part 2

Join us for the August 31st online workshop where several NISE Network partners will be sharing details about their plans to engage audiences in the science and celebration of the Webb telescope that may spark ideas for your own efforts. Presenters will also share new resources that will be available for events and public engagement programming. Learn more and register.


Partners celebrate the June 2021 annular solar eclipse

Solar eclipse as seen from Rochester taken by Mike Wash TAG Volunteer at RMSC.jpg

On June 10th, community members, science enthusiasts, and space lovers gathered in parks, rooftops, and virtually to look at and celebrate the annular solar eclipse. Learn more about how a number of our East Coast NISE Network partners celebrated the mesmerizing event and find supporting educational materials on eclipses! 

Sharing experiences about kit activity lending libraries

A docent explains the Gateway Science Museum Lending Library Program for Earth and Space Science Toolkits.

Learn how some NISE Network partners have created activity lending libraries to share their kit activities with other organizations and educators in their community and create opportunities for broadening their reach. Learn more about these experiences.


NISE Network online workshops
View the recordings and resources from recent NISE Net online workshops:

Celebrate the Perseids meteor shower July 17- August 24

NASA photo of the 2018 Perseids meteor shower over tall trees

The Perseids are the most popular meteor shower as they peak on the warm August nights as seen from the northern hemisphere. The Perseids are active from July 17 to August 24, peaking on August 11-12, 2021. Learn more about meteors, comets, and asteroids at:


Citizen Science, Civics and Resilient Communities project community forum on Extreme Precipitation

Image of the Climate Hazard Resilience virtual forum banner

In this interactive program, participants will discuss the social, economic, and environmental impacts of extreme precipitation in virtual groups. Save the date, July 14, 5:30-7:30 EST.

NASA's Astrophoto Challenges summer 2021

Image of the NASA Astrophoto Challenges logo

NASA's Astrophoto Challenges event for summer 2021 has begun and will run until August 16. Participants will be able to process real NASA astronomical image data. This challenge will focus on Messier 87 home to one of the biggest known black holes. To learn how to participate visit here

GLOBE mosquito habitat photo challenge: July 25-August 25th

Mosquito Habitat Photo Challenge logo

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program invites citizen scientists from around the world to participate in the Mosquito Habitat Photo Challenge. This challenge combines Mosquito Habitat Mapper and Land Cover to document mosquito breeding habitats with photos. To learn more and how to participate visit here.


The NISE Network hosts free online workshops as professional development opportunities for our partners to share with and learn from each other.

Online workshops take place on Tuesdays at 2-3pm Eastern / 11am-12pm Pacific. View upcoming online workshops at

August 31, 2021
2-3pm ET | 11am-12pm PT

Engaging audiences in the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope - Part 2 
In a prior online workshop in May 2021 we were joined by members of the Space Telescope Science Institute, who provided an overview of the science and engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb). Now, please join us for this August online workshop to hear from several NISE Network partners sharing details about their plans to engage audiences in the science and celebration of Webb. Presenters will also share new resources that will be available for events and public engagement programming that may spark ideas for your own efforts. Learn more and register.


Earth and Space News
Check out the latest images from the Mars Perseverance Rover, including a video that shows how the rover took its first selfie!

Chemistry News
Bacteria-sized swimming robots take on microplastics and win by breaking them down. Researchers hope that these microrobot catalysts can pave the way for systems to capture and degrade microplastics in the environment.

Synthetic Biology News
Engineered organism could diagnose Crohn's disease flareups. An engineered strain of E. coli bacteria could be used to help detect gut diseases such as Chron's Disease and is currently being tested in mouse models.

Sustainability News
New material inspired by spider silk could help solve our plastic problem. Scientists from the University of Cambridge have invented a new, more sustainable type of compostable plastic inspired by spider silk. This plant-based plastic has added nanoparticles incorporated to make it more viable.

Wicked high tides: citizen scientists plan for sea-level rise. Museums engage in climate hazard resilience planning and citizen science activities. This includes engaging participants with citizen science, deliberative forums, and civic action.

  • NISE Network resource:

Citizen Science, Civics, and Resilient Communities project focusing on four natural hazards.

Nanotechnology News

MIT turns "magic" material into versatile electronic devices. Graphene "magic" material composed of atomically thin layers of carbon used to create quantum electronic devices for applications such as quantum computing. This material may also give new insights into the physics of superconductors.


NISE Network logo - National Informal STEM Education Network

Discover activity ideas for incorporating current science, engineering, and technology content into events, special programming, holidays, and seasonal activities by visiting



  • 8/7: National Sand Castle Day
  • 8/19: National Aviation Day
  • 8/20: World Mosquito Day


Visitor Studies Association Meeting
July 13-15, 2021
Stay current on VSA 2021 updates

National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Conferences
July 26-30, 2021
Learn more about upcoming conferences

Virtual Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) 2021 Annual Conference
October 5-7, 2021
Stay current on ASTC 2021 updates